cropped-butterfly-2.pngI’m sorry you found my blog.

HA!  What a funny thing to say on a blog!!  But seriously, if you landed here, you either know me, or know someone that has cancer.  That’s why I’m sorry!

Cancer.

I hate that word.

I remember sitting in the oncologist’s office in my early 20’s listening to the Dr. tell me that while it was not likely I would get Ocular Melanoma like my Mom, 3 out of 4 people would be diagnosed with some sort of cancer in their life.  Since all of my Grandparents and my Mom have died of some type of cancer, I knew my day would come.  I just never thought my diagnosis would be the day after my 41st birthday and as a mother of a 10, 7 and 6 year old.

Fast forward 4 years (October 2019) and the cancer has returned in other bones.  So here we are, ready to fight again…and looking to be on some sort of treatment for the rest of my life.

This blog is my journey as I fight to leave cancer behind and move on in my life.

I should probably back up and introduce myself . . . my name is Jennifer.  I’m a Christ follower, married to an amazing man (who happens to be a chef turned Co-CEO of a restaurant), have 3 beautiful daughters and I’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer which originally spread to my sternum, but has now spread to quite a few other bones  and one of my lungs as well.

I know it can be confusing when you stumble upon a new blog, so let me help you get started.

  • I have a blog to keep track of my thoughts and to let friends and family know what’s going on.
  • You can get to know our family or read my personal testimony here.
  • As I’ve been going through different procedures, I’ve written down what it was like.  You can find a list of those over in the side bar (or down at the bottom if you are on a mobile device).
  • Click here to receive an email when I publish new posts.
  • And finally, if you noticed above that I’m married to a chef and think that must be the MOST AMAZING THING EVER, click here and browse through my blog about what it’s really like to be married to a chef.  (I love blogging.  Can you tell?)

Jennifer

Here’s what’s going on with me right now . . .

Chemo Today & Surgery Tomorrow

I woke up not feeling very good this morning. But that didn’t matter because I still had to get up and have a covid test and go to chemo. My heart rate was in the 120’s so they gave me a bag of fluid and that brought it down. I have never seen it stay that high before.

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It’s almost time for another hair cut and more important things…

Yep. My hair is growing and it’s going to be time for a hair cut sometime soon. How exciting! Hair loss is possible on this chemo, but so far, it’s growing. We’ll see what the next cycle brings. 🙂

I’ve noticed this new chemo is effecting my skin. It’s very dry. I have ton’s of dandruff and every time I take off clothes, I see skin flying in the air. Yuck!!!! Yuck!!!!!!! Yuck!!!!!!! My skin is so dry. So I’m starting to put on lotion every day and I’m sure that will help. I probably should shower more often as well, it’s just a pain to put on a shower shield every time to cover up the catheter we use to drain my lung.

Yesterday, I felt great. I had quite a bit of energy and did more than I usually do. Today I slept in ’til almost 12 and even then had a hard time waking up. It’s 3pm now and I’m more awake, thank goodness. We drained my lung again this morning and I can breath better. It’s a very different day than yesterday.

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Pain and Chemo Update

I’ve now completed the first cycle with this new chemo. I’m very fatigued and have some nausea off and on, which Compazine takes care of. I also have a funny taste in my mouth most of the time. So far, those are the main side effects. I’m taking 80% of the full dose I’m allowed and after talking to the Dr. today, we are going to leave it at that. This next week I have off of chemo and then the following week I’ll start up again. We’ll scan again after 3 or 4 cycles to see how this medicine is working.

My pain is under control with the Fentanyl patches and Oxy, but since I am on the high end of what I can take with both of those drugs, it looks like I need to go ahead with the pain pump. The surgery is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday the 18th, checking in at 11 am. While I’m nervous about the size of the device itself, I can’t find much online about people complaining about it once it’s in. So I guess I’ve decided yes about it after praying and talking to the doctors and Tom.

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Ringing the Bell

In the infusion center there is a bell that patients get to ring when they finish chemo. The nurses come out and clap and cheer for them. It’s a nice way to celebrate being done with treatment. The bell wasn’t here when I finished 5 years ago, so I never got to ring it. It wasn’t a big deal for me then.

But what about now?

When I am done with chemo, it will be because it is either no longer working and there is nothing else we can do medically, or I chose to stop it because I am too weary to continue.

It’s not a time I would want to ring a bell, nor do I think it would be offered.

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Pain Pump Appointment

First, if you are having trouble accessing my blog, I’m sorry. I’m working on it. 🙂 Please don’t give up!

Today, Tom and I spent most of the afternoon at Valley talking with an anesthesiologist about getting a pain pump (Intracathecal pump) to handle my pain because of the large amount of pain meds I am on. It would distribute pain meds directly into my spinal fluid at a steady rate and is much more concentrated. So today we learned about the pump and they did a test injection in my lower back to see how my body would respond to the medicine (Dilaudid). I responded well and he thinks I am a good candidate for one. Tom and I will talk about it and we’ll talk with my other doctors and make a decision. It requires a 3-4 hour surgery to implant the pump, but if it controls my pain better, then it’s worth it. (The pump itself is very large….wish I didn’t see it. I’ve been through a lot and not many things freak me out, but it’s about the size of a retainer case (but round). That’s huge!!

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Breathing

Quick post today….please pray for my lungs. I’ve been having trouble breathing the past couple days. I’ve drained my lung a few times and it is still very uncomfortable to breathe. Tom called the oncology nurse to see what I should do. Every time I stood up, my pulse went really high and I had trouble breathing. She said, before going to the ER, take a bit more pain medicine so I could take deeper breaths. Also, to drain my lung again, even though we just did it yesterday morning. If that didn’t help, then we needed to call back and possibly head to the ER.

I am thankful that that worked and so far I am still at home.

So far no real side effects that I notice from the new chemo. I am thankful for that.

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New Chemo Day 1

I started a new chemo plan today – Gemzar and Carboplatin. My oncologist said it will be a little bit harder on my body but it will attack the cancer a different way.

I feel fine so far, but what he said makes me nervous. He said it’s nothing like my body was hit with originally 5 years ago. But 5 years ago I was in fabulous shape. Today, I needed a wheelchair to get into the infusion center. My body is not quite the same now as it was then.

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Meet Jennifer

Breast Cancer Patient, Chef Wife and Mom

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Resources:

verses of encouragement
How to help a friend or family member with cancer
Resources for Cancer 'Patients
cancer insurance

What to Expect:

Breast Biopsy
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PET Scan
port surgery
chemotherapy
Mastectomy
Reconstruction
oophorectomy
Radiation
neuropathy after chemo